Hall of Fame Inducts Five Iconic Wheelmen

Hall of Fame Inducts Five Iconic Wheelmen

Elliott, Lorenzen, Scott, Weatherly, White Officially Enshrined

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Five legendary drivers with distinct styles and contributions to NASCAR were enshrined into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina tonight during the Induction Ceremony held in the Crown Ball Room at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Those who added their names to the list of now 30 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees, included: Bill Elliott, Fred Lorenzen, Wendell Scott, Joe Weatherly and Rex White.

The group makes up the Hall’s sixth class in its history.

A true trailblazer, Wendell Scott was the first African-American to race fulltime in NASCAR’s premier series, as well as the first to win a NASCAR premier series race. Scott posted 147 top 10s in 495 starts, as well as finished four seasons in the top 10 of the championship points standings. He won more than 100 races at local tracks before making his premier series debut, including 22 races at Southside Speedway in Richmond, Virginia, in 1959 en route to capturing both the Sportsman Division and NASCAR Virginia Sportsman championships.

“The legacy of Wendell Scott depicts him as one the great vanguards of the sport of NASCAR racing,” said the late Scott’s son, Franklin, who accepted the induction on his behalf. “Daddy was a man of great honor. He didn’t let his circumstances define who he was.” 

Joe Weatherly claimed consecutive premier series championships in 1962-63 and won 25 career races before his untimely death in January 1964 at Riverside (Calif.) Raceway. Known as the “Clown Prince of Racing” due to his jovial personality, Weatherly displayed impressive versatility beyond his premier series dominance. A decade earlier in 1952-53, he won 101 races in the NASCAR Modified division, capturing that championship in 1953. He even tried his hand in NASCAR’s short-lived Convertible Division from 1956-59, winning 12 times.

Weatherly joins Bobby Allison and Richie Evans as Modified champions in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

“He loved his family and he was very generous, but I am sure there are many memories the fans could share as well, maybe ones of the practical jokes he enjoyed playing on fellow drivers,” said Joy Barbee, Weatherly’s niece. “He definitely had a sense of humor, he loved a good laugh and he loved to have a good time. He always had a big smile on his face; he was a character to be around and definitely lived up to the title given to him – the ‘Clown Prince of Racing.’”

One of the greatest short-track racers ever, consistency was the hallmark of Rex White’s NASCAR career. He finished among the top five in nearly half of his 233 races and outside the top 10 only 30 percent of the time. Of his 28 career wins in NASCAR’s premier series, only two came on tracks longer than a mile in length. Driving his own equipment, White won six times during his 1960 championship season, posting 35 top 10s in 40 starts. He finished in the top 10 six of his nine years in the series, including a runner-up finish in 1961.

“Words can’t express how honored I am to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame along with the other Hall of Fame members, especially my 2015 fellow inductees,” White said. “No driver wins a championship by himself and nobody enters the Hall of Fame alone. I am the symbol of a team effort.”

Bill Elliott – a fan-favorite with a record 16 NASCAR Most Popular Driver Awards – compiled numerous accolades that put him near the top of many all-time NASCAR lists. In his 37-year driving career, “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville” notched 44 wins (16th in NASCAR history) and 55 poles (eighth), but his most prestigious accomplishment came when he won the 1988 premier series championship. Elliott always performed on the biggest of stages, winning the Daytona 500 twice and the Southern 500 three times. 

“One thing I look at out here today is one common bond with all these racers, it’s the hard work and the dedication all these guys had,” Elliott said. “I mean, for me to stand up here among the guys that have already been here, it’s just totally incredible.”

Fred Lorenzen – one of the first “outsiders” to capture the fancy of NASCAR’s early southeastern crowds – was one of the sport’s first true superstars, even though he never ran more than 29 of the season’s 50-plus races. The Elmhurst, Illinois, native won 26 races from 1961-67, with his best overall season coming in 1963 as he finished with six wins, 21 top fives and 23 top 10s in 29 starts. The victor of the 1965 Daytona 500 and World 600, Lorenzen boasts the fifth-highest career winning percentage (16.86) in NASCAR history.

“Dad always said, ‘The sky is the limit and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise,’” said Lorenzen’s son, Chris, who spoke on his behalf. “That has been dad’s most important saying in life, and he certainly lived by it. He also believed people made their own luck and that luck just doesn’t fall upon people.” 

Each of the five inductees had an inductor who officially welcomed them into the hall. The inductors for the five inductees: Ray Evernham for Bill Elliott; Amanda Gardstrom (daughter) for Fred Lorenzen; Wendell Scott Jr. for Wendell Scott; Bud Moore for Joe Weatherly; and James Hylton for Rex White.

Active drivers introduced each inductee during tonight’s program: Kasey Kahne for Bill Elliott; Tony Stewart for Fred Lorenzen; Jeff Gordon for Wendell Scott; Brad Keselowski for Joe Weatherly; and Kevin Harvick for Rex White.

In addition to the five inductees enshrined on Friday night, Anne B. France was awarded the inaugural Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.

France, paired with her husband, NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., created what today is one of the largest and most popular sports in the world. Anne played a huge role in the family business. “Big Bill” organized and promoted races; she took care of the financial end of the business. She first served as secretary and treasurer of NASCAR, and when Daytona International Speedway opened in 1959, served in the same roles for the International Speedway Corporation. She also managed the speedway’s ticket office. France remained active in family and business life until her passing in 1992.

Prior to tonight’s Induction Ceremony, long-time Charlotte Observer reporter Tom Higgins was awarded the third Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence.
 
Higgins was the first beat writer to cover every race on the NASCAR schedule, a role he held from 1980 until his retirement in 1997. He started his journalism career in 1957 at the weekly Canton (N.C.) Enterprise where he covered racing for the first time. Higgins joined the sports staff at The Observer in 1964 as an outdoors writer and soon began covering stock car racing as well. He has continued to write motorsports nostalgia columns for the newspaper and its website ThatsRacin.com since his retirement.

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The Wendell Scott family reacts on stage after receiving the NASCAR Hall of Fame jacket in honor of the late Wendell Scott during the 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images

Culver A True Home Track Champ

Culver A True Home Track Champ

Lake Erie Driver Enjoys First Title With Hometown’s Support

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Randy Culver is living a charmed life as a hobbyist racer. Just seven years after transitioning from the grandstand to the garage, he’s a champion at his hometown track.

Culver grew up as a self-described gearhead and racing fan in North East, Pennsylvania. He followed drag racing and watched the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series religiously on television, but had no direct connection to the sport. No relative or acquaintance that raced. He was just a fan.

2014 NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES TRACK CHAMPIONS

Everything changed in 2002 when Lake Erie Speedway opened in his home town. Culver immediately started attending races regularly at the .375-mile asphalt oval, and in 2007 when discussions began for the development of a modified division at the track, he started to wonder about what it would be like to get behind the wheel.

“One of my neighbors that has a garage said, ‘Why don’t you build a car and come out here and have some fun,’ and I was already going there by myself anyway, so I figured I might as well go have some fun with the boys,” Culver said.

At 43 years old, Culver had no racing experience in any way, shape or form.

“Me and a buddy put a car together and went out and raced in the inaugural year of the modified division in 2008,” Culver said. “I was really the only true rookie out there. The other guys had been racing for years in other classes.”

Culver finished eighth in points as a true rookie and won the season finale. The five subsequent seasons saw him finish third place twice and three times as the championship runner-up.

“When you’re so close to being a champion so many years in a row, that’s kind of what kept me going,” Culver said. “I was only going to do this two or three years just to be able to say that I used to race, but I turned out to be pretty good at it so I stuck with it.”

It all came together for Culver in 2014. He won seven of 13 starts in the Plyler Overhead Door Modified division behind the wheel of his No. 24 Parmenter Excavating Chevrolet to capture his first Lake Erie championship by 63 points over Eric McCray.

Now 50, Culver’s seven wins led all NASCAR Whelen All-American Series competitors in the state of Pennsylvania.

He’s come a long way in a relatively short amount of time.

“I was bound and determined to be No. 1,” Culver said. “I wasn’t going to give up until I got the championship, and it paid off. I’m thrilled to death to finally get there, especially competing against guys that have been racing their whole lives.”

Culver was doubly fortunate to be able to achieve this success at his hometown track. A well-known member of the community, he’s benefited from a great following at Lake Erie on summer Saturday nights.

“A lot of people root for me. We’re good, we’re fast, and people like that,” Culver said. “It’s great racing in front of my family. It’s brought my family together. They used to go camp on the weekends, but now they’re at the track and it’s a family affair.

“We have a party in the pits after every race and we have a big following from the people in the stands that come over to see us after the races. It’s a great time and absolutely fantastic to race in front of my hometown.”

It’s those type of local relationships that have afforded him the opportunity to seek the success he has attained. The manpower behind the championship consisted of crew chief Rick Sornberger, Frank Graham and Rick Wylie, but he has a tremendous haul of associate sponsors that also contributed, including: Erie Hard Chrome, Conn Asphalt & Blacktop Recycling, Sornberger Automotive, LB Water, National Road Utility Supply, Atlantic States Ductal Iron Pipe, The Straw Hat, Eagle Precision, Bob Martin State Farm Insurance, Weaver’s Hillside Homes, Pennsylvania Electric Motor Service and Hill Engineering.

Culver will attempt to defend his Lake Erie title, and also plans to run a few races at fellow Whelen All-American Series track Lake County Speedway in the spring, but he can still take a moment to bask in the glow of his 2014 accomplishments.

“This year was just nothing but a dream,” Culver said. “There’s no way another year will duplicate this year for me, it was just that good of a year. Everybody involved with our race team had a great time and it was just an unforgettable year.”

Culver drove his No. 24 Parmenter Excavating Chevrolet to seven wins in 13 starts this past season. Mark Bell Photography

BMR Builds on K&N Pro Success

BMR Builds on K&N Pro Success

Fields Cars for McReynolds, Eggleston, Custer and Drake

ROSEVILLE, Calif. (Jan. 28, 2015) – Bill McAnally Racing has announced plans to expand its lineup for 2015, as it builds on its success in the East and West divisions of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and celebrates a special anniversary.

BMR, which scored six wins and five poles last year, is looking to add to that mark in 2015 as the team commemorates the 25th year of its partnership with NAPA AUTO PARTS.

“This will be a very special year for everyone at BMR as we honor our 25th anniversary with NAPA AUTO PARTS,” said BMR President Bill McAnally. “NAPA has contributed so much and been such a big part of BMR’s success through the years. We want to reward NAPA and all our partners with our best year ever.”

As a five-time champion in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, BMR expanded last year into the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East – becoming the only team to race full time in both the East and West divisions.

“We’re looking forward to our second year of competing in the K&N West and K&N East,” McAnally said. “I’m confident the teams will build on their successes from 2014.”

BMR is expanding its program this year in the K&N West, meanwhile, to feature two full-time teams – with Brandon McReynolds back behind the wheel of the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota for a second season and Chris Eggleston driving the No. 99 NAPA Filters/ H2O Fire Protection Toyota in his rookie season in the series. BMR’s focus in the K&N East will have Nick Drake back in the No. 15 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. Cole Custer will return to run select events in the East and West divisions for BMR in 2015, driving the No. 00 NAPA AUTO PARTS/HAAS Automation entry.

In his first full season of competing in the K&N West last year, McReynolds won the Most Popular Driver Award and was named to the NASCAR Next program, which spotlights NASCAR’s rising stars. The 23-year-old from Mooresville, North Carolina, finished fourth in the championship standings. He garnered two poles and put together a string of nine consecutive top-five finishes. He is the son of television race analyst and former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chief Larry McReynolds.

“We have some unfinished business with Brandon in the K&N West,” McAnally said. “We’re looking forward to capitalizing on his consistent performance last year.”

McReynolds offered a similar perspective on the season.

“I’m definitely excited after last year,” he said. “It was kind of an up and down year, although our finishes were always respectable. I think we established a good foundation to build on, as I go forward into my second year at BMR.

“Speed obviously wasn’t a problem all year in the NAPA Toyota,” McReynolds said. “It was just a matter of closing the deal. Looking forward to this year, I know we’re really going to push hard on being perfect with our preparation and try to excel and take advantage of our windows of opportunity on the race track.”

Drake, also of Mooresville, capped off his rookie season in the K&N East by winning the K&N West season finale at Phoenix International Raceway. The 19-year-old, who made the transition last year from racing open-wheel sprint cars on dirt to competing in stock cars, captured attention early by winning the pole in the K&N East race at Richmond (Virginia) International Raceway.

“We look for Nick’s big win at Phoenix last November to serve as a momentum builder as we head into the 2015 season,” McAnally said. “As a rookie, he displayed great potential throughout the year and we anticipate his success to continue.”

In addition to his win, Drake finished second overall in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway last May.

“We obviously ended the way we wanted to last year with our NAPA Toyota,” Drake said of his win at Phoenix. “So we know we can win races. Hopefully, we can start right where we left off.”

“I think it should be a really good year for BMR,” he said. “Nothing’s new to me anymore. We’re going back to all the same tracks that we went to last year.”

Drake acknowledged that his finishes in 2014 did not always reflect his performance in some of the races.

“We ran way better than we finished in some events last year,” he said. “We had an opportunity to win a couple of races that slipped away from us. Some of it was out of our control. If we can get some luck on our side, hopefully we can run for this championship.”

Eggleston – making just his second series start, his first with BMR – grabbed the headlines last year by winning the K&N West race at his home track, Colorado National Speedway. The 25-year-old from nearby Erie is a graduate of Colorado State University.

“We’re very excited to have Chris coming on board full time for 2015,” McAnally said. “He captured a lot of attention with his win at Colorado last year and we expect to see his talent continue to develop as he becomes a regular in the series.”

Eggleston was one of four first-time winners in BMR’s No. 99 entry last season. Drake was also in the No. 99 when he won at Phoenix. In addition, Patrick Staropoli drove the No. 99 to his first win at Irwindale (California) Speedway and Christian PaHud scored a win in the No. 99 in his series debut at All American Speedway in Roseville, California. During the season, the BMR entry will carry a special logo to commemorate the team’s 25th anniversary with NAPA and its associates.

“I’m super excited and very thankful to be working with such a great team as Bill McAnally Racing,” said Eggleston. “I’m thankful that we were able to put something together with NAPA Filters, NAPA Batteries and NAPA AutoCare Centers.

“This is a dream come true,” he continued. “I thought it was a dream come true just to run that one race last year at Colorado in front of a hometown crowd and for us to come out of there with a victory. To put something together for the full season this year, gives us a momentum swing.

“I’m also excited to be able to work with Brandon,” Eggleston said. “I think he’s a great driver. I’m looking forward to working with him and learning from him. I think between the (car No.) 16 and (car No.) 99 that we can rack up a bunch of wins this year and hopefully be one-two in the championship at the end of the year.”

Custer, 17, of Ladera Ranch, California, had a record-setting season in 2014. Also a member of the NASCAR Next program, Custer won the K&N West season opener at Phoenix and followed that up with a K&N East win at Richmond in April. His racing resume includes nine events in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, where with a victory at New Hampshire in September he became the youngest winner in NASCAR national series history at the age of 16.

“After all of his success last year, we look for more great things to come from Cole in 2015,” McAnally said.

The K&N East opens its season at New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach, Florida on Feb. 15 and the K&N West kicks off its 2015 schedule at Kern County Raceway Park near Bakersfield, California on March 28.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Bill McAnally Racing •900 Riverside Avenue •Roseville, CA 95678 •(916) 676-0010
Website: www.BMRNAPA.com Twitter: @BMR_NASCAR Facebook: Bill McAnally Racing
__________________________________________________________________________________________________
Contact:
Kevin W. Green
Bill McAnally Racing
(707) 689-5533
kgreen@billmcanallyracing.com

 

How ‘Huck Finn’ Became ‘Awesome Bill From Dawsonville’

One of several accomplishments that got Bill Elliott inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame was his Winston Cup championship in 1988.

One of several accomplishments that got Bill Elliott inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame was his Winston Cup championship in 1988.

When the media first saw Bill Elliott in 1976 it was all they could do not to laugh.

Oh, they had seen kid race drivers before and they certainly had seen one-car, family-owned teams that didn’t have the equipment or personnel to hang around NASCAR any longer than a few races.

But what was different was Elliott himself. He was a Georgia boy from Dawsonville who was the perfect example of a hayseed – the term used by many cynical media members.

He was thin with a full head of curly red hair. When he spoke the Georgia accent oozed. It was easy to picture him on a riverbank, cane pole in hand and a stalk of straw hanging out of his mouth.

All he was missing was a face full of freckles.

Almost immediately the media gave him a new name: “Huck Finn.”

He might have been on a basement-tier team owned by his father George, but ol’ “Huck” was a persistent cuss.

With the help of brother Ernie, the engine builder, and Dan, youngest of the clan, Elliott kept racing, year after year.

He never competed on the full schedule – most of the time he entered no more than 13 races a year – but he never left. Five years after his debut, “Huck” was still racing.

Then things began to change.

Elliott astonished the racing world when he won 11 superspeedway races and the first Winston Million bonus in 1985.

Elliott astonished the racing world when he won 11 superspeedway races and the first Winston Million bonus in 1985.

In 1982 George Elliott sold the family team to Harry Melling, an industrialist from Michigan who was virtually unknown in NASCAR.

In 21 races that season Elliott compiled eight top-five finishes and won his first career pole position at Michigan.

The media wasn’t overly impressed. They still called him “Huck Finn.”

In 1983, jaws dropped and eyebrows rose during Elliott’s first year on the full schedule. “Huck” won one race, finished 12 times among the top five and ran up 22 finishes among the top 10. He finished third in points.

After Elliott won the last race of the year at Riverside, Bobby Allison was prompted to say, “Ol’ ‘Huck’ did good, didn’t he?”

He would do better. In 1984, Elliott won three races, finished among the top five 13 times and 24 times among the top 10. He again finished third in points.

Now he was considered a rising star. But the name “Huck” didn’t go away.

It all changed in 1985. Elliott had one of the greatest seasons in NASCAR history. He set and broke records. He turned the world of auto racing on its ear.

Elliott won 11 superspeedway races and 11 pole positions – a feat since unequaled.

The season was the first for the Winston Million, a program designed by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., sponsor of the Winston Cup Series.

Any driver who could win three of four selected races – the Daytona 500, the Winston 500, the World 600 and the Southern 500 – would receive a $1million bonus from RJR.

Of course, Elliott won it with victories at Daytona, Talladega and Darlington.

During all of this the media quit poking fun at Elliott. Instead they sought to find the reasons why his Ford was so much faster than any other car on the track.

Conspiracy theories were published. Some said Ernie had found a few tricks even the best engine builders did not know. The team had a special fuel additive.

One major stock car magazine announced in bold headlines that it had found the Elliott secret. Well, no. Even Ernie, normally a taciturn fellow, shook his head and laughed when he read the article.

The media besieged Elliott. A normally shy, quiet guy, this made him uncomfortable. He tried to answer the burning question of his newly found speed, saying repeatedly that he and Ernie had found “the combination” that worked for his car and engine.

The media moniker “Huck Finn” disappeared. It was washed away by waves of fan admiration. They gave him the name “Awesome Bill From Dawsonville.”

His popularity increased after he won the Winston Cup championship in 1988.

Fact is it never wavered.

Elliott won the Most Popular Driver Award in every year except three from 1984-2002. His fans were intensely loyal.

However, Elliott had to travel to New York each year to receive his award.

Elliott was decidedly not a New York-type of guy. More than once he was seen ducking into his hotel room with bags of groceries, done for the night.

Now 59 years old and retired from racing since 2012, Elliott will receive another, deserved honor.

He will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Jan. 30.

Certainly he could not have imagined this when he started racing as a red-haired country boy all those years ago.

Attaboy, “Huck.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hamlin Showdown Returns to South Boston

Hamlin Showdown Returns to South Boston

Virginia Track To Host Late Model Showcase

SOUTH BOSTON, Va. – The Denny Hamlin Foundation announced today that April 23, 2015 marks the eighth edition of the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown and the second consecutive year the celebrity Late Model charity race will be held at South Boston Speedway (Va.). The Showdown, which features top NASCAR drivers competing against the best regional Late Model drivers, again serves as a weekday prelude to the weekend NASCAR races at Richmond International Raceway.  Proceeds from the Showdown go to support the Denny Hamlin Foundation, which has donated $150,000 in grants to help fund the Denny Hamlin Cystic Fibrosis Research Lab at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU and support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-accredited Therapeutics Development Center at VCU.

“Keeping the race at South Boston for 2015 was a no-brainer for me,” said Hamlin, who regularly raced at South Boston before he made the jump to NASCAR. “Not only did it bring back a little bit of NASCAR to the South Boston community, it also brought one of the most competitive fields we have seen at this event so far.  The fans nearly sold out South Boston last year, and with the interest that we have already seen this year, I believe we will sell-out South Boston, and provide fans with another thrilling event.”

Advance tickets on sale starting February 11 at South Boston ticket office and ticket hotline 1-877-440-1540.

The driver line-up will be announced closer to the event, but Hamlin expects last year’s winner Matt Bowling, a Whelen All-American Series driver, to be first in line. Previous race winners include Kyle Busch, Hamlin, Tony Stewart, and C.E. Falk. Falk’s thrilling victory in 2010 at Southside Speedway, along with Bowling’s late race pass at South Boston last year, make Falk and Bowling the only non-NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers to win the event.

The Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown began in 2008 at Southside Speedway, a local short track near Hamlin’s hometown of Chesterfield, Va., outside of Richmond, before moving to Richmond International Raceway in 2011 to pair up with the NASCAR K&N Series. In 2014, the race moved just over 100 miles to the southeast of Richmond to South Boston Speedway, another short track with a long history in stock car racing.  The annual race serves as a foretaste for fans attending the Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race two nights later at Richmond International Raceway.

“I am extremely excited about hosting the event again this year,” said Cathy Rice, general manager of South Boston. “I felt it was a learning year for us last year and it turned out to be a great success.  We want to thank everyone involved and especially Denny for making the announcement at our event last year that the Showdown would be back at South Boston again in 2015. That was awesome. We are truly honored to be able to support the Denny Hamlin Foundation and the great work they do.”

Advance tickets to the Short Track Showdown go on sale starting February 11 at the South Boston Speedway ticket office or by calling the track’s ticket hotline at 1-877-440-1540. The first 1,100 fans to order tickets will receive the advance ticket price of $20. After the first 1,100 advance tickets are sold, the prices increase to $25. Children ages 6 and under are free with an adult ticket purchase. Season passes are not honored for this special event. 

For more information, visit the South Boston Speedway website at southbostonspeedway.com and dennyhamlinfoundation.org.

Spieker Wins 10th Career Tack Title

Spieker Wins 10th Career Tack Title

Crowned Iowa State, Adams County Speedway Champ

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Chris Spieker’s supurb 2014 performance earned a ninth Adams County Speedway track championship and his first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Iowa state crown.

It was the Massena, Iowa, native’s 10th NASCAR track title overall. In addition to his Adams County haul, he also won at I-80 Speedway in 2004.

“It’s a gratifying experience,” Spieker said. “I started racing in the stock car division and when I decided to move to the late model division, some people said I wouldn’t be able to compete at that level. I showed them I could.

“It’s an honor to be the track champion. I’m now tied for the most champion titles.”

This season was a little different for the 44-year-old compared to his previous championship campaigns in the Coors Light Late Model division.

“This season was a little more stressful,” said Spieker. “I had a few nights with bad luck. It came down to the last night between Jason O’Brien and me. I knew whoever finished ahead would win. I was fortunate enough to win the race.”

The final showdown between O’Brien and Spieker was the most memorable race of his season.

“There was so much on the line,” Spieker said. “We started off side by side in row five. By Lap 6 I had moved into the lead with him right behind me. I held the lead for about ten laps until contact was made coming out of Turn 2 causing me to spin and to bring out the caution flag.

“We both got sent to the back, within a couple laps we were back in the front battling it out. I was able to get the job done and pull through with the win.”

Spieker is no stranger to Adams County’s half-mile dirt oval.

“I’ve been around racing my whole life,” said Spieker. “I was less than two weeks old when I attended my first race with my mom. My dad was a crew chief for various cars while I was growing up and my interest grew the older I got. I started racing in ’91 when I was 21 and I’ve been at it ever since. This season will be my 25th season.”

This season’s plans are pretty straight-forward for Spieker and his team.

“I want to defend my title,” Spieker said. “I hope to go out there and just win races and keep my title as the Adams County Speedway track champion.”

Spieker credits his family and crew for his success on the track and his Adams County and Iowa State champion titles.

“Without them, I wouldn’t be here,” said Spieker. “My brother, David, who’s the owner and crew chief and his wife, Beth, without them it wouldn’t be possible. My crew Will and Tim Erikson and Justin and Tom Schafer. And my biggest support system, my wife Shana and our kids Allison, Marissa and Loudon.”

Jacob Best & Brooke Gordon-Page Spieker will return to Adams County Speedway this season with the hopes of a repeat season. Jacob Best & Brooke Gordon-Page

Jeff Gordon Sportscaster? No. Gordon Hendrick Leader? Yes.

Getting ready for a leadership role?

Getting ready for a leadership role?

Let’s take a look at a few facts before I wander, as I often do, outside of the box.

Hendrick Motorsports is the General Motors factory team in NASCAR. No one can really, with a straight face, deny it.

Rick Hendrick really has no one to take over this level of operation in the future that would have his best interests at heart.

Jeff Gordon is retiring, but has stated that he doesn’t really want to get out of motorsports but is very vague in his statement regarding the future. People like Jeff Gordon do not decide to retire and not know what they’re going to do next. The simple, everyman image that he casts is a ruse. He shrewd and he knows.

My first inclination for Gordon’s possible future was that of show business, sometimes called sports-casting, but let’s face it, it is show business and Gordon is good at it. He seemed to revel in it at times, particularly while he was a ‘A’ list personality in New York City.

I recently stated to my friend and insider expert, Bill Marlowe, that I felt given Gordon’s accelerated role in commentating for the Xfinity series, he would go for showbiz.

It would seem natural, but Marlowe immediately adjusted my thinking that it would be a waste and not in the ultimate plan.

If you don’t know Bill Marlowe, you should. He’s raced Formula Atlantics, he’s engineered for Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, Ricky Rudd, Bill Elliott and Trevor Bayne. He knows his way around the NASCAR paddock.

Ingrid, Gordon's Belgian wife, is no doubt preparing Château belge de Gordon.

Ingrid, Gordon’s Belgian wife, is no doubt preparing Château belge de Gordon.

Marlowe then proceeded to line item by line item let me know the err of my thinking and in the process changed my mind.

Jeff Gordon will become a significant player in the Hendrick Motorsports operation.

Consultant? No. Ray Evernham is a consultant. Jeff Gordon will become a decision maker for the Chevrolet juggernaut.

How does this scenario line up without some evidence? There are plenty of breadcrumbs lying about that point to this scenario becoming a reality.

Jeff Gordon is a name with far more business acumen than a junior varsity level businessman.

He has made moves that suggest he is setting up Command Central, Charlotte. He has his New York property up for sale as well as a ranch in Utah.

Why sell these prime properties that would serve as a multi-millionaire get-away unless he had no time to use them?

In fact, the hammers and nails are flying as this goes to press on a palatial home in Charlotte. His wife, no doubt, is overseeing the European stones and artifacts being placed just so.

Think of it as a Belgian castle being planted in good old North Carolina.

He has equity in the #48 team, how much I do not know. I also don’t know if he has more equity than just the team, my suspicion is that he does.

Jeff Gordon is a household name in the United States. Ask anyone in any-town USA and they will recognize the name and General Motors is acutely aware of this.

The verdict for me, after heavy consultation with Marlowe, is that Jeff Gordon is being groomed for an executive role within the Hendrick organization. Chances are that process has been going on for quite some time.

Gordon would move into a vice-presidential role and over time, assuming he performs, will move up the ladder into what could become what we Formula One people call “Team Principle”. From there, CEO. He’s capable and has been taught well by both GM and Hendrick.

Deals such as this don’t differ dramatically from what you would see in the financial or manufacturing world who are searching for an eventual leader.

He would increase his equity stake over time as part of the package and as time goes on collect on the equity shares that have been set aside for him to acquire in the form of an earn out, thus ensuring he performs to the highest standards, which I’m sure he will.

Once the complete ‘higher education’ process is complete, he would then be offered a much greater equity stake, probably in the form of a split.

Some stock at the deal close, and the rest restricted to be taken either on specific dates or perhaps performance benchmarks. It could also be in the form of stock options, to be purchased at a preferred rate.

It makes sense. He’s been with Rick Hendrick forever, he has the knowledge and the ability, he is a household name and ultimately brings a ‘Win on Sunday, sell on Monday’ aura to General Motors.

Bill Marlowe convinced me.

Don’t you love the Machiavellian universe of auto racing? I do.

 

 

 

 

Rogers Adds To Impressive Resume

Rogers Adds To Impressive Resume

Former National Champion Scores Track Crown At New Smyrna

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — David Rogers is no stranger to success on the race track. If there has been a special event Late Model race in his home state of Florida, more than likely, he already has a trophy or banner at his race shop showing him as a winner.

Now he can add two more trophies to his crowded collection – NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Florida champion as well as the track Division I champion at New Smyrna Speedway.

Roberts won the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship in 1994, and became the first NASCAR champion at New Smyrna after the track resumed NASCAR sanctioning in 2014.

Rogers also won his title in a unique way, at least for him, as he used consistency and timely finishes to secure the titles despite not scoring a win during the season.

“I am happy and a little bit sad at the same time,” Rogers said. “We are glad to get another championship, but this was the first year since 1973 that I didn’t win a race and that was no fun. We expect to run up front every time out and we ran well but we just didn’t get a win.”

This is understandable when you look back in the NASCAR record books and read where Rogers was the first driver to win all 22 of his starts during the magical 1994 season at Volusia County Speedway in Barberville, Florida, to become the first champion to go unbeaten in a Whelen All-American Series season.

The unique scheduling of Late Model races at New Smyrna created the scenario of Rogers winning the title. Rogers picked up nine top-10 finishes in 11 starts to easily outdistance Spencer Davis (270-212). Most of the events are held during Speedweeks and other Super Late Model points races mixed in to the regular-season schedule.

“It is a little unusual how the races are scheduled but it’s like that for everyone and we just went out and did what we needed to do to get the most points and race for wins in every race,” Rogers added. “As a racer you always want to win and let the points take care of themselves. We have a dedicated group of people that support this team and I am happy they are able to enjoy this track and state title with me.”

Those people include sponsor TM Ranch and owner Steve Holland, who has supported Rogers for 30 years. His crew is led by crew chief and chassis builder Dana Ebersole, Joe Yarbrough, John Collard and Ron Rentfrew.

“I couldn’t run my own business and race like I do I couldn’t do it without those guys and also Scott who handles all of my decals,” Rogers said. They are always willing to jump in and get it done.”

From his first race on dirt in Ocala, Florida, to competing today at track like New Smyrna and Five Flags in Pensacola, Florida, Rogers still has a passion for competition.

“We always look forward to running Speedweeks at New Smyrna although it can be a challenge running that many nights in a row, even if you are winning and running well,” he said. “But if you are a racer you can’t wait to get back on the track and we will be ready in a couple of weeks to go after it.”

Rogers, 59, hopes to add a few wins to his record-setting career after going winless in 2014.

“We want to win every time we go on the track, but winning a NASCAR championship at any level is great for my team, sponsors and myself. And we will always celebrate that when it happens,” Rogers added.

New Names Fill Drive For Diversity Roster

New Names Fill Drive For Diversity Roster

Six Drivers Earn Spots To Compete For Rev Racing

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D), the leading developmental platform for female and multicultural drivers and pit crew members, announced its 2015 class today. The program welcomes four talented program newcomers to the roster of six drivers striving to transition into the sport’s national series spotlight. Rev Racing, the program’s competition arm, has played a key role in the development of 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson and NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers Darrell Wallace Jr. and Daniel Suarez.

“Taking steps to find and develop young female and multicultural athletes who could represent the future of NASCAR is at the core of our organization’s mission,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “We were impressed by the talent displayed at the Combine [in October of 2014], and are eager to help this group develop their strengths on and off the track.”

Rev Racing will field four teams in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and two in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. The 2015 class is led by returning K&N Pro Series East driver Jay Beasley and Devon Amos, who after an impressive 2014 performance in the Whelen All-American Series earned a spot in the K&N Pro Series East.

The 2015 NASCAR D4D roster includes:

Devon Amos: Returning to the team, the 23-year-old Rio Rancho, New Mexico, native will make the jump to the K&N Pro Series East after two full seasons in the Whelen All-American Series.

Jay Beasley: Finishing 13th overall and sixth in a loaded Sunoco Rookie of the Year field in the K&N Pro Series East last season, the 23-year-old from Las Vegas, Nevada will return for a second season, aiming to best his rookie campaign.

Collin Cabre: After an impressive NASCAR D4D Combine performance, the 21-year-old Thonotosassa, Florida, native will compete in the K&N Pro Series East in his first year with Rev Racing. Cabre has spent the past five years racing asphalt and dirt sprint cars.

Natalie Decker: A 17-year-old newcomer to the Rev Racing roster from Eagle River, Wisconsin, Decker collected feature wins in a limited late model and super late model, as well as earning Rookie and Sportsman of the Year honors in ARCA SCAG Midwest Truck Tour. She will compete in the Whelen All-American Series in 2015.

Kenzie Ruston: Entering her third season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and first with Rev Racing, the 22-year-old El Reno, Oklahoma, native is also a member of NASCAR Next, an industry initiative to identify tomorrow’s stars. Ruston broke her own record in 2014 as the highest finishing female driver in the K&N Pro Series East with a runner-up finish at Iowa Speedway on her way to finishing ninth in points.

Dylan Smith: The 22-year-old from Randolph, Vermont earned a spot with Rev Racing in the Whelen All-American Series after competing in his own Late Model last year. The Stewart-Haas Racing employee ran 15 races and finished 38th in the Whelen All-American Series Division I national standings.

Under Rev Racing owner and CEO Max Siegel’s leadership, the development program aligns drivers with a team of executives, athletic directors, crew chiefs and mentors tasked with helping NASCAR D4D drivers achieve career successes; thus, improving their goal of  reaching one of NASCAR’s three national series.

“NASCAR Drive for Diversity goes much deeper than putting drivers behind the wheel of race cars,” said Siegel. “The program is all encompassing, providing competition, athletic training and professional development opportunities for drivers who have the determination and talent to reach NASCAR’s top levels. We’ve seen this with Larson, Suarez and Wallace Jr. and are excited about the potential of this talented group of drivers.”

Growth of the program extends to pit crew members under the NASCAR D4D Crew Member Development Program, also managed by Siegel. In 2014, over 30 multicultural athletes pitted fulltime for teams across all three national series.

Good Gets The New Smyrna Win

Good Gets The New Smyrna Win

Declared Pete Orr 100 Winner After Sargeant DQed

NEW SMYRNA, Fla. – Bobby Good was disappointed he came up short Saturday night.

After post-race technical inspection at New Smyrna Speedway, however, he walked away with the big Super Late Model trophy.

Good was declared the winner of the prestigious Pete Orr Memorial 100 after Dalton Sargeant, who crossed the line .118 seconds ahead of Good, was disqualified for left-side weight infraction.

It was an anticlimactic end to a race that saw a furious duel over the final five laps between Sargeant and Good. Sargeant was nearly sideways in Turn 4 coming to the checkered but Good just couldn’t get a run underneath him.

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“I was just trying to do anything I could with what I had,” said Good. “At the end, he was overdriving the corner and pushing up. And I got a couple good runs. I think I screwed myself up when I came up on him with two to go and tried to hug the apron down there in (Turns 3 and 4). He just got too big a lead on me.”

Good had dominated the first 77 laps of the Red Eye 100 at New Smyrna on Jan. 4 before settling for second behind Bubba Pollard. He thought he came up just short again, but his frustration was erased shortly after the finish. Both Sargeant and third-place William Byron were disqualified for the same infraction.

Good added his name to the list of Pete Orr 100 race winners that includes Kyle Larson (2012), Kyle Benjamin (2013) and Travis Cope (2014).

Perkins was third, followed by JJ Haley and Stephen Nasse.

Open-wheel dirt standout Rico Abreu, making his first NASCAR start, finished 13th after retiring on Lap 87 with mechanical issues. Abreu was making just his second start on asphalt and first in a stock car.

Sargeant, Byron, Haley, Abreu and Scott Heckert (11th) will all race for HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East this season, while David Garbo (20th) will race for Ted Marsh Racing. Garbo started eighth but was caught up in a mid-race, multi-car incident. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will open Feb. 15 at New Smyrna as part of the track’s 49th World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.

 

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